You are the sum of your actions. That’s what the wealthy, the elite, the talented, the charming, the blessed, and those whose visions were rooted in the material - allowing them an easier time at obtaining them than those who’s visions occurred on another planet - all said. It’s easy to work hard when your road is yellow and brick. Francis prescribed to this doctrine. He was not in a position where he was happy to say that he was the sum of his actions, but he was sure that if he worked hard enough and with a bit of miracle arithmetic, he’d come out a fine number. He worked hard; filling out spreadsheets for a firm that did nothing in particular had paid well. He lived in a town where doing well was not a common thing. Cleveland hadn’t done well in years. The year that LeBron and Harvey Pekar left, one to Miami and one into the dirt, had been a rough one. Francis had survived and was making his way up; up into some social status that he could look down to his peers and say, “Well, the weather is nice. It’s certainly not as windy.” Things had been going well. He liked his name, which had a bit of old world wealth to it despite being Jewish, and he enjoyed the unstructured jackets he had purchased. If those actions went into the formula at the end, one word in his sum would be ‘elegant’. His sum was certainly increasing. This would change one day.
He sat on the toilet, thinking about nothing in particular. Perhaps how a master’s would look on his resume. That was quite an action to add to his sum. But he probably wasn’t thinking as he left his sportcoat on while sitting on the white pot. Finished, he stood up, turned around and realized what had happened. It was a debacle. Well not entirely, but for the most part. He had successfully gotten most of the shit in the toilet bowl, a small number to add to his sum, but a number none-the-less. However, his jacket, which he had meant to take to the tailor, was a tad long for him, and, as he took it off to investigate, had a smattering of shit hanging off the back. “Oh, this will not do. Not do at all. What a tragedy. What a cruel, unfortunate, unforeseeable mistake!” He cried to himself, though the man peeing in the other stall heard as well. He had made embarrassing mistakes before but never while prescribing to this philosophy. This wretched number would ruin his finale. His sum would forever read, “Francis: Sportcoat Shitter”. Tired and smelly, he did his best to remove the incident from his sportcoat. Then he balled up the cleaning supplies, balled it up with his old philosophical prescription, and tossed it into the pot. He flushed and went out to the sink, washed his hands – rubbing them almost raw – and went out the door with no idea who he was or who he intended to be. It was nice and refreshing.